Arkansas Tech Baseball Camps
Head Coach Dave Dawson
Dave Dawson enters his seventh year as the head coach of the Arkansas Tech baseball program.
Under Dawson's tutelage, the Wonder Boys program has soared to new heights. His career record at Tech sits at 199-119, with six consecutive conference tournament appearances, five 30-win seasons, and in 2014, the Wonder Boys won their first outright conference title since 1992.
2015 saw the Wonder Boys rack up their third consecutive 30-win season, posting a 30-21 record overall. The Wonder Boys again played one of the toughest schedules in all of Division II, hosting some of the Central Region's best teams at Tech Field. The Wonder Boys were led by Patrick Castleberry, who picked up an All-America honor after being named GAC Player of the Year. Eight Wonder Boys were named to all-GAC squads, as Castleberry, Kris Ayers, and Bryan Heward all picked up first-team honors. Trent Armstrong, Keenan Jumper, and Collin O'Neil were named to the second team, while Mark Vaughn was an honorable mention selection.
The 2014 Wonder Boys set new program standards in wins with 44, a new record in conference wins with 25, while advancing to the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history, where Arkansas Tech served as the host of the 2014 Division II Central Region Baseball Championship. Tech closed the regular season on a school-record 22-game win streak, and featured seven all-conference selections. Closer Randy Vallejo led Division II in saves, and was a semifinalist for both the Josh Willingham and Brett Tomko awards, while senior Ryan Taylor was selected in the MLB draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the accomplishments of the 2014 season, Dawson was picked as the GAC Coach of the Year.
In 2013,the Wonder Boys posted a 32-21 record with a 18-12 mark in Great American Conference play. The Wonder Boys advanced to the GAC tournament, winning a game over eventual tournament champion Southern Arkansas. Five players earned all-conference honors, while Cesar Abreu and Ryan Taylor were all-region selections. Abreu earned an honorable mention all-America selection, while outfielder Josh Johnson was named to the Rawlings/ABCA Gold Glove All-Region team.
In his third season, Dawson led Tech to a 26-27 record and a berth in the inaugural GAC Tournament. The 2012 team featured eight All-GAC performers, including Jonathan Finnegan, who was named the GAC Player of the Year. In his second season at Tech in 2011, Dawson led Tech to a 32-19 record and finished third in the GSC Tournament after winning three games for just the second time in school history. Additionally, Tech took home two of the three West Division individual postseason awards as Matt Johnson became the first Wonder Boy to be named the GSC West Division Player of the Year, while Danny Parker became the third Wonder Boy to be named the GSC West Division Freshman of the Year and Johnson also became the school's first-ever First-Team Rawlings/ABCA Division II All-America honoree. In his first season at Tech in 2010, he led Tech to a school-record 35 victories and a second-place finish in the GSC West Division. Dawson's 2010 squad finished with a 35-19 overall record and a 14-6 mark in the GSC West Division. In addition, Tech also won its first postseason game since the 2001 GSC Tournament and narrowly missed out on qualifying for the NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament for the first time in school history. Dawson's first Tech team set new single-season offensive records for hits (613), runs scored (484), RBIs (407), triples (26) and stolen bases (145) and also collected its first-ever three-game sweep over Delta State in Cleveland, Miss.
Dawson came to Tech after spending the four seasons (2006-09) as the head baseball coach at Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, Kan. In his four seasons at KWU, Dawson led the Coyotes to back-to-back regular season KCAC titles in 2008 and 2009 and compiled a 115-94 record, including winning a school-record 40 games in 2009. In addition, he led KWU to two KCAC Baseball Tournament titles in 2007 and 2009 and helped the school advance to the championship round of the 2009 NAIA World Series Opening Round and achieve the school's first-ever national ranking in the NAIA Top 25 Baseball Poll. Along with all of KWU's accomplishments in 2009, Dawson also led the team to a school-record 26-game winning streak and also helped the team to a batting average of .366, which was sixth-best in the NAIA. In his tenure at KWU, Dawson was named KCAC Coach of the Year three times (2006, 2008 & 2009), was named the Region IV Coach of the Year in 2008, coached 38 All-KCAC performers, including 13 first-team honorees and also coaches four NAIA All-Americans and had two players win Rawlings Gold Glove Awards. Prior to working at KWU, Dawson spent two seasons (2004-05) as an assistant coach at the University of Saint Mary. At Saint Mary, he was in charge of recruiting and served as the team's hitting coach and infield defense coach. While at Saint Mary, the team won the 2005 KCAC Baseball Tournament title. During the summer of 2005, Dawson served as an assistant coach for the MBSL Royals of the Ban Johnson League in Shawnee Mission, Kan. The MBSL Royals was a select group of college baseball players. Before going to Saint Mary's, Dawson spent seven years as a high school baseball coach and six summers as an American Legion Baseball coach. He started his high school coaching career at Higbee High School in Higbee, Mo., in 1997 and then spent six years (1998-03) as the head baseball coach at Piper High School in Kansas City, Kan. From the summer of 1998 through 2003, he spent severed as the head coach of the American Legion Post 199 team in Kansas City. Dawson began his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater, Ottawa. In his one season (1997) as an assistant at Ottawa, Dawson was in charge of recruiting and helped the Braves win the 1997 KCAC Conference title.
Dawson lettered for four seasons at Ottawa University (Ottawa, Kan.) from 1992-96. As a player, he was named a three-time All-KCAC All-Conference performer as a catcher and served as the team's captain in both 1995 and 1996. He holds the school's all-time career walks record with 72.
A native of West Plains, Missouri, Dawson is married to the former Janene Binns of Leoti, Kan. The couple have two children, Cole and Blake.